Assessment: ‘South Park: The Not-So-Cereal Particular’

This newest South Park particular, a part of its profitable streaming cope with Paramount+, is about local weather change. I feel.

It’s definitely in regards to the return of ManBearPig, the sequence’ allegory for local weather change, and the way this return pertains to the sequence of droughts the Western United States has been experiencing. 

It’s additionally about how persons are cashing in on this tragedy, with farmers like Randy Marsh and father of Token — er, “Tolkien” — Steve Black promoting water, or, “streaming rights,” to the parents in Denver. The frenzy to have a monopoly on “streaming” content material leads to a battle, one which the boys are more than pleased to revenue from. 

Thinker Jaques Derrida famously stated that writing is exorbitant; that what one intends to placed on the web page would possibly find yourself there, but additionally what one won’t. This Freudian-slip-level evaluation largely isn’t vital for this newest South Park installment, but it surely does assist. Clearly, Matt Parker and Trey Stone are poking enjoyable at harm emotions some providers may need about them taking South Park episodes to the very best bidder. They, like Stan, Tolkien, and the remainder of the boys, promote merchandise to streaming providers. Within the boys’ case, it’s small popsicle-stick boats that assist a streaming service results in Denver. In Parker and Stone’s case, it’s content material that, in a cute, meta second, Butters argues doesn’t even must be all that good so long as it’s put on the market.

Although Parker and Stone appear to be poking enjoyable at critics’ expectations, that does appear to be the case right here.

Don’t get me improper. This episode, is humorous. However for as lengthy of a wait because it’s been for the reason that final one, you’d assume it’d be funnier, and maybe a bit extra topical.

It’s humorous watching Cartman attempt to manipulate his mother out of a scenario he has manipulated each of them into — particularly, dwelling in a sizzling canine stand, since he satisfied her to give up her actual property job final particular. It’s humorous, as all the time, to look at the lengths he’ll undergo to show some extent or get what he needs. On this case, if his mother received’t get breast implants to draw a wealthy, older man, Cartman threatens to take action. In actual fact, in a considerably tasteless bit, Cartman argues that “they try this to youngsters now.” 

It’s humorous seeing the return of Pi-Pi, the Venetian proprietor of Pi Pi’s Splashtown — a water park whose “water” is principally… nicely… 

And it’s humorous to see Randy Marsh change into often known as a “Karen,” although this reference feels shockingly previous for a South Park episode in mid-2022.

And therein could lie the issue: this hour-long particular feels fairly rattling bland. It’s one other two-parter, judging from the cliffhanger ending, however in contrast to the earlier Paramount South Park movies Submit COVID and The Return of COVID, this particular feels extra like an elongated episode. This may be high quality if we had one other coming subsequent week, one thing to make up for what felt missing this time round, however the second deliberate particular doesn’t even have an introduced launch date but in addition to someday this yr.

Past the jokes, the message can really feel muddled, even perhaps incoherent at instances.

“Streaming” is streaming. However ManBearPig (local weather change) is killing streamers. Which signifies that streaming (not “streaming”) is a trigger of world warming. Which, as a result of streaming providers require server farms, is, partly, true, however streaming tends to not have the identical devastating carbon footprint as DVDs and CDs have when performed sparsely. So, why, then, would South Park characters declare that ManBearPig was attacking folks for “upset[ting] the steadiness of nature” when that’s not precisely the case? 

I’ve no reply apart from “Who is aware of?”

Matt and Trey are hilarious. Even at their most controversial, they nonetheless plead their case in method that tends to make you snicker regardless of your self.

However that doesn’t make their motives any much less scrutable. And, due to this fact, enter Derrida.

I’m unsure South Park: The Streaming Wars has any content material that’s essentially exorbitant to what Matt and Trey supposed. Until, after all, you argue that the message about streaming units having a detrimental environmental influence was wholly unintentional, which I’m inclined to consider.

No, the comedy right here is extra like a parable than an allegory: there are few easy 1:1 ratios of “this equals that.” And perhaps it’s higher that method. 

Mick LaSalle, in his evaluate of Stone/Parker challenge Group America: World Police accused the South Park creators of an apathy bordering on nihilism. I feel, within the intervening eighteen years, they might have grown up from this “you’re silly if you happen to care” mentality. However that doesn’t make discovering that means of their work any easier. And to say there’s no there there could be silly. That will be to imagine class clowns haven’t any substance; that the king’s idiot by no means made a subversive level in his presence. I can’t insult anybody’s intelligence like that, not once I’ve seen proof of it earlier than.

I hope Half 2 of this middling particular will clear issues up for me. I hope it, like Kill Invoice Vol. 1 and 2, when put collectively, will present a clearer image of what its creators supposed when positioned in tandem with its counterpart. 

Till then, all I can say is that this: watch South Park: The Streaming Wars with lowered expectations. It’s high quality. Actually. However that’s about it. 

And when 2022 wraps up and now we have the sequel, we are able to look again on this obvious misfire and see that Matt and Trey have been on no account being tremendous cereal about making us assume that is the perfect they will do given all their streaming money and sources.

South Park: The Streaming Wars is obtainable to look at on Paramount+


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